On October 6, 2007 the NL West division champion Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the Chicago Cubs 5-1 in order to finish off an NLDS sweep. Although the D-Backs were promptly swept out of the NLCS by the Rockies there was certainly reason for hope for the future. In that game Arizona ran out the following lineup (this was approximately 21 months ago….TWENTY-ONE):
CF – Chris Young
SS – Stephen Drew
LF – Eric Byrnes
1B – Conor Jackson
3B- Mark Reynolds
RF- Justin Upton
2B – Augie Ojeda
C- Miguel Montero
P – Livan Hernandez
Also appearing in the game were Tony Clark, Chris Snyder, Jeff Cirillo, Jeff Salazar, Tony Pena, Brandon Lyon, and Jose Valverde.
Look at that roster – Young, Drew, Reynolds, and Montero were all 24 years old. Jackson was 25, Snyder was 26, and Upton was just 20. Out of the 16 people that appeared for the D-Backs, 11 of them – all of which core players – are still on the roster. The only people that are gone are pretty much just the guys who were washed up anyway (Hernandez, Cirillo, Salazar), not very good (Lyon), or a bit of a one year wonder anyway (Valverde).
So what the hell happened? Well first of all the 2007 D- Backs were a bit of a fluke anyway. They actually made the playoffs despite having a run differential of minus 20. For comparison’s sake the 2007 Oakland A’s had a run differential of minus 17 and they only won 76 games. In addition – save Justin Upton – absolutely none of those young bats have actually developed into anything resembling what GM Josh Byrnes thought they would be. Instead of parlaying some of the young guns into a bigger veteran presence to capitalize during the ’08 season – Arizona hung onto everyone, gambled, and wound up about as well as a blackjack player who’s already down a couple grand at the Imperial Palace at 5AM. After a relatively promising beginning to ’08 the D-Backs went into a tailspin in May and have yet to recover. As of today they own the 2nd worst record in baseball (or hold the #2 ticket in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes – your call) and are a staggering 18 games behind the Dodgers for first place in the division they won – WITH THE SAME PLAYERS – two years ago. The Brandon Webb injury hasn’t really helped, but this is ridiculous.
Either way – hats off to you Arizona Diamdonbacks! You’ve truly shown yourselves to be a bastion of ineptitude!